What happens when a little boy can’t get to sleep and discovers the astonishing reason why?
West Lothian author Andrew McLeish answers this question and more in The Sandman, an enchanting story of adventure, imagination, shocking cowardice, and giant underpants. By turns comic, fantastical, monstrous, and exceedingly silly, The Sandman is suitable for children of around 7+
The Sandman is Andrew’s first children’s book. After graduating with a degree in Philosophy and a career in Telecommunications, his day job now is in administration for the Scottish Government. It has taken him 20 years to produce. “I wrote the first version of The Sandman about 20 years ago,” he says, “reviewed it a couple of years ago, and could immediately see its shortcomings. So I decided to have another go, and completely revamp it. On the rewrite, I gave more attention to the craft and technique of writing, such as form and plotting.
“The novel is about a boy who canâ€™t get to sleep. Heâ€™s an extension of me, really, as I’ve never found it easy to drop off. I suppose it’s easier to write if you can relate to your own subject.
“I’ve always hated getting out of my bed, so Iâ€™ve always hated alarm clocks. I used to own an alarm clock that ticked so loudly that it kept me awake, and I imagined one assuming monstrous proportions. Thatâ€™s the central conceit of the book, and I took it from there and tried to think of a story around it.”
He has chosen to illustrate the book himself with quirky black and white drawings. “I like the simplicity and elegance of black and white illustrations,” he explains. “I donâ€™t think children need elaborate drawings – their imagination fills in the rest.”
The Sandman is likely to prove popular with anyone who struggles to get up in the morning, or who wonders why they can’t sleep at night â€“ and it won’t give you nightmares!